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Word Count: 950
Throughout history the expression of sympathy has been consistent and recognizable What provokes an act of sympathy can be examined through literature Many ballads have allowed their readers to pinpoint the human actions which are worthy of a sympathetic response In both Barbra Allan and Fair Margaret and Sweet William the opportunity for sympathy arises when the decision between personal desire and personal duty is presented In both ballads this choice causes emotional anguish but the readers compassion is placed with Sweet William his decision to turn away from true love was based on a distinct social responsibility while Barbra Allan was held back not by social duty but by childish past resentment towards her true love Barbra Allan displays a complacent attitude throughout the ballad She does not view her love Sir John Graemes life as important and takes her time in greeting him O hooly hooly rose she up to the place where he was lying10 Her laid-back manner is a sign of disrespect towards Sir John Graeme She refuses to acknowledge the severity of his heartache and treats him with disrespect His action to fetch her from where she was dwelling was an expression of kindness that was quickly met with a slap in the face O the better for me yes never be Tho your hearts blood were spilling 10-11 Barbra Allan is consistently blunt and cruel towards Sir John Graeme Her unforgiving nature gives him no hope and eventually no reason to live Although John Graeme may have hurt her in the past Barbra Allan displayed an exceptionally cold demeanour towards him A woman who is incapable of forgiveness becomes unworthy of a sympathetic reaction Unlike Barbra Allan William displays a more noble and endearing personality Even by betraying his one true love William makes it clear that he means no harm I see no harm by you Margaret And you see none by mee 12 A bad action
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